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Daws targets festive cheer

Michael Dawson is aiming to make it a happy Christmas and finish 2009 in style with a win against West Ham on Monday.

Michael Dawson is aiming to make it a happy Christmas and finish 2009 in style with a win against West Ham on Monday.

The defender was in fine form again as we kept a third-successive clean sheet in the Barclays Premier League with a battling goalless draw at Fulham on Boxing Day.

The hard-earned point sees us fifth in the table at the half-way stage of the campaign, just a point behind Arsenal and Villa, who sit third and fourth respectively and meet on Sunday.

We now face the Hammers at the Lane in what is always one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures of the season, kicking-off at 12.45pm tomorrow (Monday, December 28).

Gianfranco Zola's men picked up a vital 2-0 win against Portsmouth on Boxing Day.

"Yes, they had a good win against Portsmouth, a great result for them, so they will come to White Hart Lane full of confidence," said Michael at Craven Cottage.

"But we always look forward to playing at home and hopefully we'll get the three points - then we'll have had a really good Christmas.

"It's another London derby and we know what it means to everyone. It's a big thing for us as well and that's not just because it's a derby, we want to win every game to stay up near the top of the table.

"It's been a fantastic start for us. We have to continue with the form we're in and hopefully we'll be in there come the end of the season."

Michael and Sebastien Bassong were tested to the limit at Fulham and goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was in fine form, producing a string of saves, the best to deny Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora.

However, Mark Schwarzer arguably produced the save of the day in the second half to keep out Peter Crouch's volley and Jermaine Jenas' follow up.

"This is always a tough place to play," added Michael. "They pressed us when we tried to get the ball down and play, so we had to play a little longer. It was a hard game but it's another clean sheet and a good point."

Michael's form has been key to an unblemished defensive record now stretching back to Kevin Doyle's early goal for Wolves on December 12.

Harry Redknapp summed-up his form. "For me, he's been absolutely fantastic. There's not too many centre-halves in the country playing better than Michael at the moment."